Mandible (insect mouthpart)

The mandibles are the typical mouthparts of some major groups of arthropods, including crustaceans and insects, centipedes and millipedes.

The mandibles represent a transformation of the third pair of legs in the head region of the animals and therefore comply with the pedipalps of arachnids. The mandible consists essentially of a strong Kaulade.

The mandibles are used for biting and chewing of plant and animal food or as a gripping tool when transporting or manipulating objects. Predatory species use their mandibles to catch prey.

In many insects the mandibles are transformed into various other types of tools such as the proboscis mouth of bugs. Apart from the Urmotten the mandible is almost completely regressed in butterflies.


In phylogenetics, the Mandibeltiere ( Mandibulata ) within the arthropods ( Arthropoda ) against the pine pawl carrier ( Chelicerata ) are deferred. The Mandibeltiere include crustaceans (Crustacea ) and the Tracheentiere ( Tracheata ) with the centipedes, millipedes ( Myriapoda ) and insects. However, there is also the hypothesis that the millipedes are more closely related to the jaw jaw carriers than with the other Mandibeltieren. Embryological studies support this hypothesis. However, this raises the question whether the crustaceans and the Tracheentiere have not purchased the mandibles independently and mandibelartige mouthparts appeared several times in the course of evolution.